What is a predictive dialer: How to choose the right dialer software for your sales team

What is a predictive dialer:

How to choose the right dialer software for your sales team

Fact: There is absolutely no other way to exceed your sales quota than to connect with as many quality leads as possible.

In practice, this means doing an awful lot of outbound calling, right?

And I’m sure you’ll agree. Manually dialing one number after another doesn’t always bring you to a sale any quicker. Often, you end up spending even more time listening to dial tones, busy signals, and answering machines instead…

…And only occasionally actually talking to someone.

With a predictive dialer, you’ll cut the gap between answered calls to just 3 seconds. So instead of spending 45 minutes dialing and listening to voicemails and busy signals, with a predictive dialer you can flip that and spend 45 minutes talking to prospects.

Specifically, you’ll discover how using a predictive dialer will get you from one conversation to another at a lightning speed.

First, you’ll learn the concept of predictive dialing and how it dramatically reduces waiting time (thus empowering you to talk to more prospects). We’ll also show you why using a predictive dialer is so critical for today’s sales teams. And what goes with it, you’ll discover how call automation will help boost your sales.

A quick note before we begin. This is a quite comprehensive and lengthy guide to predictive dialing. So, feel free to bookmark this page or email it to yourself for further reference. And at any time, use the links below to jump to the information that interests you the most:

Let's begin.

What is a Predictive Dialer?

A predictive dialer is an automated outbound calling software that dials from a list of telephone numbers and uses algorithms to screen out busy signals, answering machines, disconnected phones, and no answers to connect sales representatives with leads fast. Advanced predictive dialers also use data to adjust the calling pattern, utilizing sales teams to their fullest potential.

A predictive dialer can be a stand-alone product or a part of a larger solution like a CRM with an integrated dialer.

Because of that laser-focus on connecting reps with leads fast, predictive dialers reduce the time sales teams waste significantly.

But and as I'm sure you’ve experienced already, so much of your day goes towards waiting for someone to pick up the call.

According to the data from a sales consulting firm Brevet, it takes 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. What’s more, sales people often have to wait at least 18 or more dials before connecting with a prospect.

Astonishing, right?

But let’s put those numbers into context.

An average sales development representative typically makes about 30-50 calls per day. However, for the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume that you call 40 leads each day.

Let’s also assume that you wait for those 18 dials per call. And that each dial lasts about 4 seconds (which I think is pretty accurate.)

A quick calculation reveals that you spend a minute per each call just listening to a dial tone. And that’s with no guarantee whatsoever that anyone would pick up the phone on the other end.

Add to it the time you spend logging the call in the CRM and the time you waste increases even further.

But the effect of all goes beyond losing sales productivity. Spending hours of your day trying to connect to someone makes you lose the drive and motivation to sell.

Instead of talking to people, the only words you hear are their voicemail messages at best. As a result, you lose the buzz with every unanswered call.

Predictive dialers dial a couple of numbers at once. They then screen out dial tones and only passing the answered ones to you.

In short, a predictive dialer allows you to engage only with the calls answered by real people. What’s more, it does so in a way that you can move through large lead sets quickly.

And the effect of implementing an auto dialer on a sales team’s productivity is irrefutable.

For one, using a dialer can cut your sales reps’ idle time by over 80%.

Instead of being productive for just 40 minutes per hour you can now engage with leads for 57 minutes. That’s only 5% idle time per hour!

Such a significant reduction of idle time can result only in two things – more engaged leads and revenue.

Although initially used only in banking for telemarketing or collection, outbound dialers eventually expanded into other areas. Today, you find them in customer service, political campaigning, and sales, among others.

These modern automated dialers help companies reduce the sales team’s downtime by dialing smarter.

Understanding that last element is incredibly crucial to your success with predictive dialing. So, let’s take a look at it now.

What is Predictive Dialing?

Predictive dialing is an outbound calling method helping to maximize a sales team’s productivity. A predictive dialing software uses various call metrics to forecast when the next representative will become available to take the call, and then, dials the person’s number on the rep’s behalf, screening out busy tones, voicemails and disconnected numbers in the process.

How Predictive Dialing Helps Dial Smarter

When dialing predictively, a dialer software will switch from calling one number at a time to dialing many. It will also adjust its calling pattern to connect sales representatives with prospects as quickly as possible.

Here’s how it moves through those calls.

After dialing a number, in case of a no signal, a predictive dialer will hang up.

With other calls, it will screen out busy tones, unanswered calls or voicemails to connect only calls answered by humans to reps.

And how does it know when a real person answered the call? Because its algorithm automatically looks out for “hellos”, disregarding any other response types.

It’s worth to note that a predictive dialer will work with even a single rep available to answer calls. But to benefit from predictive dialing fully, you should have at least 10 salespeople logged into the system.

And that’s precisely because a dialer software will call a large group of numbers simultaneously. By using various sophisticated algorithms, dialers can set the pace at which they call those numbers based on available agents. And so, the more representatives log into the system, the more leads the dialer could ring at a time.

In fact, to utilize the sales team to the fullest potential, a predictive dialer will adjust the automatic call rate continuously. It will consider these call metrics to do so:

  • The number of sales reps available to take calls. One person could use a dialer software. But, to avail of its potential fully, you should have at least 4 people logged in to the system. The most optimal number of reps for predictive dialing is 10 and over.
  • The average number of dials before a person picks up a phone. This metric helps a predictive dialer estimate how many numbers to dial to avoid call abandonment.
  • The ratio of answered calls and call abandonment rate. A predictive dialer aims to bring reps closer to a conversation. But it also aims to prevent answered calls to get abandoned because there’s nobody to take them. So, the system will automatically calculate how many numbers to call simultaneously to ensure the lowest abandonment rate.
  • The average length of the conversation. Finally, how long your reps spend on each call will also affect the call ratio.

By adjusting the call rate, a dialer can help sales reps seamlessly move from one call to the next. And often with only a couple of seconds delay between conversations.

No surprise that a predictive dialer can boost sales productivity, motivation, and drive more sales.

But these aren’t the only benefits of using predictive dialers…

How Sales Teams Benefit from Using a Predictive Dialer

Think about it. You’re spending a minute, on average, waiting to connect with someone. Another 30 seconds to a minute go into logging the call and selecting the next number to dial. You’re also taking short breaks between calls. And these gaps will, most likely, grow longer after every call you’ve made.

That’s at least 2 minutes per call, on average.

Even with a 25% reach rate, you’re still waiting for at least 8 minutes before actually talking to someone.

If your reach rate is close to the average 15%, then that time can extend to 10 minutes or more.

The result? Demotivation. Waiting so much means that you lack the fire to go on and keep on selling. You’re experiencing what we, at Close.io, often call not being warmed up enough.

Now, here’s the kicker:

A predictive dialer can cut that interval between calls to only 3 seconds.

The result? A whole range of benefits, including:

  • Lower outbound calling costs.

    Less idle time means more conversations. And what goes with it, a greater potential for making more sales.

  • Saving you the busy work.

    We’ve already established that manually dialing numbers can take at least 30 seconds. And that’s without the time spent listening to a dial tone.

    Using a predictive dialer eliminates most of it, resulting in reaching conversations much faster.

  • Boosting the reach rate.

    A predictive dialer will analyze each call, and discard the negatives passing over only the genuine calls answered by real people. This, in turn, will increase your reach rates drastically.

  • Giving you more time for each lead.

    Saving time by not having to dial numbers by hand, means you can focus on each lead for longer. You no longer feel the pressure to go through the call list quickly. Instead, you can concentrate on what you really love doing – connecting with and engaging new potential clients.

And most importantly, boosting your motivation and drive.

Let’s face it, your success in sales depends on your attitude. You know that if you approach a call feeling down, your chances of engaging a new lead drop significantly. Come to it warmed up, and that attitude will affect the call’s outcome.

In fact, studies like Dr. Martin Seligman’s analysis of Met Life sales team’s attitudes proved it indisputably:

Optimistic and vibrant salespeople sell more. Full stop.

During his research at Met Life, Seligman discovered that optimists outsold the rest of the sales team by a staggering 31%.

Why? Because with the right sales motivation, you will:

  • Convey that attitude onto the caller, making a much better first impression,
  • Communicate your belief in the company and the product better, and
  • Sound more confident, energetic, and enthusiastic. And needless to say, all three are highly contagious qualities.

Which is precisely what you need to make that next cold call a success, right?

Predictive Dialers: Challenges and Regulations

Predictive dialers bring you to a conversation faster. And you already know why and how.

Unfortunately, they also carry specific challenges for your sales team to deal with. Here are the most common ones:

Call Delay

On occasion, companies might experience a short, about 1-2 seconds-long delay between a person picking up the phone and a rep joining the conversation.

This is due to a temporary time lag of the system connecting a rep with the call.

Although such delay might seem insignificant, it could affect your predictive dialing strategy. Here’s how:

According to FCC regulations in the US, if no one interacts with a recipient within 2 seconds of the person’s greeting, the call must be considered abandoned. As a result, the dialer must play a recorded message.

What’s more, the FCC requires companies using predictive dialing system to abandon less than 3% of their calls a month.

In Canada, the maximum abandon rate is 5%. What’s more, dialers cannot call numbers registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. They also cannot call emergency or health care providers.

In the UK, Ofcom instills a fewer than 3% abandonment rate as well but calculates it on a daily basis. UK companies are also required to play a pre-recorded message after the first 2 seconds.

Close.io’s Predictive Dialer makes it easy for you to record a custom pre-recorded message.

A Lack of Ability to Prioritize Leads

Another challenge is that when using predictive dialing, reps rarely have the option to prioritize leads.

They cannot select specific people they’d like to engage. And as a result, often end up speaking with people they know little about.

Luckily, there’s a workaround.

The moment dialer connects a call, all person’s info displays on the screen. This allows a sales rep to familiarize themselves with the caller’s data at an instant.

What’s more, with Close.io’s Smart Views and search features, you can dynamically create lead lists based on the specific criteria you care about the most. This enables you to prioritize leads based on the specific metrics and datapoints that are most relevant to your sales process.

Poorer Results When Selling High-Ticket Items

Finally, predictive dialers do not always work for teams selling high-ticket items.

To engage their customers, those companies must know more about their leads. Many also must build up a context for the sales conversation first before reaching out.

Eager to Try a Predictive Dialer? See How to Do It

A predictive dialer makes selling so much more exciting, doesn’t it?

With this simple feature, you eliminate all the time you waste listening to busy tones or voicemails entirely…

…And go through your call list at a lightning speed.

So, if you’re eager to see how it could improve your sales, sign up for a Close.io trial and start using our new predictive dialer right away. Don’t worry, we’ll only ask you the basic information required to sign up. No credit card necessary.